A study that tracked almost 1,400 criminal offenders during a 20-year period indicates when offenders receive Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT), a cognitive behavioral treatment program, they are much less likely to be re-arrested or re-incarcerated. The findings have implications for federal, state and local government officials who cope with the high cost and public safety concerns of managing repeat offenders.
The study tracked 1,052 criminal offenders who had been treated with MRT against a control group of 329 criminal offenders, all of whom were involved with the Shelby County Correction Center in Memphis. This group has been tracked now at three-, five- 10- and 20-year intervals for re-arrests and re-incarceration. After 20 years, 94% of offenders that did not get MRT treatment were re-arrested; 82% of this non-treated group were re-incarcerated. On the other hand, when an offender had received MRT treatment, the re-arrest rate dropped to 81% and the re-incarceration rate dropped significantly to 61%.
The study’s authors counted every arrest (outside simple traffic court violations) the MRT-studied group had during this 20-year period, including lower level misdemeanant offenses, something many studies do not do. In addition, the study group included all participants who entered MRT treatment and not just “program completers,” another common study practice. Both the MRT-treated group studied and the non-treated group participated in similar institutional programs such as vocational training, GED prep, work release and counseling. The only difference in regimens for the MRT-treated and control groups was the use of MRT.
Data for the study was gathered from three criminal justice databases that captured information on local, state and federal re-arrests and re-incarceration. BI uses of MRT in its day reporting programs as part of its focus on using evidence-based practices.
A copy of the study is available through Correctional Counseling Inc. at 901-360-1564.